Yesterday morning I sat at the counter at Puffins Restraurant in Millbury having a wonderful plate of Eggs Latin, and as I struggled to read The Worcester Telegram while eating, I realized the problem with newspapers in print: the User Interface is pathetic.
Here are just a few of the UI problems:
- The newsprint is too thin – trying to fold the paper into something you can handle with one hand is virtually impossible.
- Ink stained fingers – it used to be a sign of a well read person. Now it’s a sign of someone who doesn’t get their information in an efficient manner.
- Page jumps – In order to read the stuff on the front page, I was forced to dive back into the back page, plus a couple other pages. On the web, I have a back button. In print, I have to get all WWE on the thing to bend it to my will.
- Poor categorization – I’m not necessarily interested in all the news, just the parts I want. On the web, I can easily have access to most if not all the days news from a single homepage. Here I have to wade through all the days happenings, for better or worse, because its so…linear.
- Recyling – I left the paper on the front seat of my wife’s car. She came in screaming at me that I had to remove my junk and return her car to her the way I left it. It was as though I’d left a puddle of toxic waste there. The problem here is that the delivery mechanism is obsolete for anything other then lining the cat litter box the minute your done reading it.
I’m pretty much done with newspapers and newspaper technology, at least for a while. I grow tired of chronicling the demise of an industry and instead choose to look forward. ‘Tis a sad day when a boy whose dreams were of newsrooms, deadlines and worldly old copy editors walks away in disgust.
As my grandfather watched the death of his trade (he was a linotype operatator), I watch the entire industry crumble. But fear not, in time it will be reinvented…